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  • In the park near my home is a special tree.

    It bears an unusual fruit, so plainly visible now in this season of bare branches and biting cold.

    The Shoe-tree stands as witness and monument to that which takes place beneath it.
    Today the place is abandonded except for a young teenage couple; he, strutting to impress; she, seated on a park-bench, hugging herself and a cigarette and mostly ignoring him.

    But in the brightening hours of spring and through the long, warming summer days and evenings, the shoe-tree harvest grows.

    Below its' sheltering branches is a skate-park; a quadrangle of concrete with a quarter-pipe, ramps and protruding metal bars (I have idea how these things are called).

    In the warmer, brighter, after-school and weekend hours, it is here the kids gather, to be with their peers and not their parents. To tentatively explore their first kiss, smoke their first joint, aerosol their first 'tag' on the graffiti wall.

    And learn and fine-tune the art of skate-boarding through repetition, repetition, repetition.

    Their wrecked shoes and broken skate-boards symbols and brashly displayed trophies of a sucessful initiation and rite of passage into that subtle and coded world of belonging.
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